What: Military aviation salvage yard
Where: Faygate, Horsham, Sussex
Abandoned: Not abandoned at time of visit.
Visited: 2005, 2006, 2007 Last Known Condition: Completely cleared in 2006-8. A house now occupies the site
Page Updated: March 2012
I first published pictures of the 'Aeroplane Graveyard' in 2005 but such were the looting, vandalism and petty arguments which followed that I felt obliged to remove the page. A valuable lesson had been learned: posting pictures and publishing names attracts attention to a place, and sadly much of it negative. For seven years the pictures sat on a CD, only to be rediscovered in early 2013. With the yard now cleared and the 'planes dispersed, the pictures could now be brought to light again.
The history of aircraft salvage in Faygate began in the 1940s when the R.A.F. Number 49 Maintenance Unit was established near the railway station on land now occupied by Durrants Retirement Village. The Unit's job was to recover the wreckage of crashed Allied and German aircraft and salvage any servicable parts.
In the 1970s the industry returned to the area when the Park Aviation Supply Co. opened a yard on Wimlands Lane to recover spares from crashed and retired military aircraft. Over more than thirty years the yard was filled with the the remains of helicopters and jetfighters of every sort, ranging in age from the 1960s to the 1990s.
By 2005, the yard was used only sporadically; weeds sprouted from between the decaying airframes and moss had grown on many of the older 'planes. The company's main operations moved to Charlwood and clearance of the yard took place in 2006 and 2007. By 2010, a house stood on the site and only a few pieces of aircraft were to be seen in the garden.
Many of the 'planes in the yard were unidentifiable, but a few had numbers visible which gave clues to their history:
T Mark 4N Harrier XW268
XW268 was built by Hawker Siddely in 1970 and served initially with 233 O.C.U. In 1994, her base was R.N.A.S. Yeovilton, where it formed part of the 899 N.A.S., the Royal Navy's fixed wing training squadron. After a crash in 1994, the 'plane was used for spares recovery before being sent to Faygate in 1997. The Harrier's livery celebrates 50 years of the 899 between 1942 and 1992.
After the yard closed, it moved to Norwich Air Museum, where it is awaiting restoration
Harrier II GR7 ZD400
ZD400 served with 1 Sqn., R.A.F. and was based at R.A.F. Wittering. It was written off in 1997 after the pilot lost control near to the White Water Reservoir in Cambridgeshire. He ejected and was unharmed but the 'plane was irreparably damaged. After resting at Faygate for some years, ZD400 was cut into pieces in 2007 and is believed to have been scrapped.
Jaguar T2 XX140
XX140 was built in 1973 by the Anglo-French firm, SEPECAT. In 1974 it was allocated to No. 54 sqn. at R.A.F. Coltishall and then to 226 O.C.U. at Lossiemouth before being retired to Shawbury in 1985. Its last service was at No. 2 School of Technical Training Cosford and it was decomissioned in 1999. The crest on the side was that of the 226: its fate after the yard closed is not known.